Craig Pinello graduated from James Madison University in 1991 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in both Economics and History. Subsequently, he earned a Master of Science in Education from Old Dominion University in 1994 with a concentration in special education. In 2004 and 2015 respectively, Craig earned an Education Specialist degree and a Doctorate of Education in educational administration and policy studies from the George Washington University.

In addition to working hard to complete a double major at JMU, Craig took advantage of many leadership opportunities available. He was hired by the Office of Residence Life and worked as a resident advisor his sophomore year in Gifford Hall and his junior year at HoJo’s. As a senior he was selected to be the Hall Director in Wayland Hall. Working in Residence Life allowed Craig to develop important interpersonal and problem solving skills that still serve him today. Also while at Madison, Craig served as vice-president of his fraternity, Sigma Chi, was a member of the Order of Omega, and was selected as one of seven seniors from the university to serve as a Miller Fellow. The Miller Fellow program was perhaps the most rewarding experience for Craig during his stay at JMU as it provided an intimate look at the university and the internal structure of the senior administrative leadership team; including working directly alongside great mentors – Dr. Carrier, Dr. Rose, and Dr. Warner.

After graduation, and a life-changing experience as a group counselor at a Virginia-based wilderness school, Craig realized that he had a passion for working with challenging youth. He began his teaching career in the fall of 1992 with the Southeastern Cooperative Educational Programs (SECEP), a regional special education program located in the south Hampton Roads area. Working as a teacher, instructional specialist, principal, and assistant director for SECEP eventually led to Craig being hired as an assessment specialist for Chesapeake Public Schools in 2006. He has served as the Director of Special Education for Chesapeake since 2010. Craig also works as an adjunct professor in the Department of Educational Foundations and Leadership at Old Dominion University.

Craig and his wife Kim (’90) met at JMU and were married in 1994. Kim is a graduate of the JMU College of Education and is currently a principal with Chesapeake Public Schools. Craig and Kim have three children; two daughters, Jessi (’18) and Alli (’18), who also chose to make their mark on JMU and a son, Jake, who will be completing the circle for the Pinello family as a 2022 graduate! Craig and Kim continue to be engaged with the university through the Parents Council and by supporting JMU athletics through the Duke Club. Favorite family memories include many tailgates on Godwin Field and two unforgettable trips to support the Dukes in Frisco, Texas.

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